Judge Orders Full Competency Exam for Domestic Violence Defendant

A DC Superior Court judge ordered the transfer of a domestic violence defendant from DC Jail to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, DC’s psychiatric institution, after finding him incompetent to stand trial.

The defendant is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

Judge Michael Ryan found him incompetent based on a preliminary screening that was conducted from the jail. During the Jan. 4 hearing, Judge Ryan ordered a full competency examination.

Defense attorney Khadijah Ali expressed concerns with the report due to the jail’s medication prescription. The medication is not the same one that has been previously prescribed and is stronger, Ali said. The prosecution did not object to this request.

Judge Ryan said he would override the doctor’s recommendation for the defendant to remain in jail with the stipulation that St. Elizabeth’s has vacancy.

Given the COVID-19 restrictions on the hospital, he emphasized there may be a quarantine period for the defendant rather than the normal immediate transfer.

The next hearing to reassess the defendant’s competence is set for March 3.